Spreadsheet bid calculators are evolving through years of trial and error by individuals designing their own spreadsheets due to cost and affordability, which is a viable option for them if they have time to design these spreadsheets. Large contracting firms compile their constructions bids using expensive standalone programs because they have proven platforms with a record of accuracy. Spreadsheet calculators deliver detailed bids to the user with excellent results and without the high operating cost of expensive programs.
Spreadsheet calculators when placed on a laptop give contractors the flexibility to estimate small projects and/or large projects on construction projects. Contractors waste valuable time and money returning to the office with the client’s project information just to calculate the bid, then return to deliver the clients bid. Spreadsheet calculators calculate the required 10% overage on materials, including the contractors pricing structure for labor/material/equipment designed in the calculator.
The spreadsheet was introduced back in the 1980s and evolved into a complex program, but with the right experience, it can be an effective tool for estimating large or small projects. Standalone programs work fine for estimating large projects; however, they cannot estimate all structural elements of the project, such as concrete, reinforcement, form-work, excavation, and back-fill at one time. Because of this restriction, contractors are forced to develop spreadsheet calculators ensuring bids were covering all required disciplines in their bids to ensure correctness. Construction bids missing important materials or a labor calculation is the number one reason companies incur large losses on projects they would generally have slim profits designed into the bid.
For example, designing a calculator to each structural element included in a footer foundation – Normally you would estimate your concrete, reinforcing bar, excavation, back-fill, and formwork separately. When using a specialized concrete footing contractor for an example, the contractor will arrive at the client’s project site at the appointment time, walk the site where the proposed project will be, and look over the construction drawings. A well-designed spreadsheet calculator will deliver a nice bill of materials when you input depth, thickness, width, length of the footer, and type of reinforcing the material. The calculator delivers a total material cost, labor cost, plus the detailed bill of materials including 10 to 20% standard overage included in each bid.
Spreadsheet calculators eliminate the drive back to the office to use a big standalone computer holding the expensive software your company paid thousands of dollars to purchase and maintain. Many benefits for using a spreadsheet bid calculator system can save companies time/money, and many have realized the benefits for many years and still deliver results today.
John Abrams is a technical expert, he has written technical blogs, manuals and reviews for many websites such as office.com/setup